By Michael Callander
With the January transfer window fast approaching, Nottingham Forest sit fifth in the Championship table, 12 points off first-placed West Brom but one point better off than after 19 games last season.
They will hope to continue their impressive form after Christmas, as it faltered last term with the departure of Aitor Karanka and club legend Martin O’Neill taking the helm. O’Neill won consecutive European Cups with Forest during the most successful spell in their history.
Manager Sabri Lamouchi expressed his disappointment at dropping two points to a last-minute equaliser at Millwall on Friday night, saying his side “suffered a lot because we started the game in the wrong way.”
There have been rumblings of discontent around the involvement and contribution of club record signing Joao Carvalho.
The Portuguese midfielder arrived last summer for £13m but has not featured as much as some fans expected since Martin O’Neill arrived at the City Ground in January.
He missed much of this pre-season following an ankle injury sustained in a friendly at Alfreton Town, the day after Lamouchi took over.
Compatriot Tiago Silva joined this summer for a fraction of the price from Feirense and has often impressed as he has nailed down a spot on the team sheet, often directly filling Carvalho’s position. Carvalho is believed to have attracted interest from Turkish side Trabzonspor.
Charlton Athletic striker Lyle Taylor is being linked with a move to the City Ground after netting five times in seven games so far this season. He scored 25 goals in 45 as the Addicks won promotion from League One; his current contract expires at the end of the 2019/20 season so Forest would be foolish not to enter a bid for the former AFC Wimbledon man and Montserrat international.
Forest youngster Jake Taylor’s agent has spoken about “concrete interest” from League Two clubs in his client when his loan at Port Vale ends in January.
A number of League One sides are also believed to be interested in securing his services until the end of the 2019/20 term. The 21-year-old midfielder has six goals to his name in 20 appearances so far this season.
The Valiants are confident, however, that they can keep the midfielder at Vale Park beyond next month.
Taylor’s car was broken into in November and, within hours, the club’s owners had provided him with another one. Manager John Askey believes that the club going above and beyond the duty of care may tempt Taylor to remain at the League Two club.
The midfielder, who can also fill in at left-back, plied his trade for Forest’s Under-23s last season. The young Reds, managed by Forest legend Chris Cohen, currently sit top of the Professional Development League following an enthralling 3-2 win over Birmingham City on Friday night.
Veteran defender Yohan Benalouane featured for Forest, while David Stockdale and Gary Gardner started for Blues in a game that treated the neutral with some household names. Gardner was substituted off in the second period.
England Under-18 international Alex Mighten, Kieran Hayes and Keith Asare netted in the first half to give them a 3-0 lead at the break, before the visitors rallied with two goals in two minutes in the second half.
Mighten has impressed this season, as has holding midfielder Tyrese Fornah, who has made enough of an impression on Lamouchi to have trained with the 48-year-old Frenchman’s first-team.
Brennan Johnson is another academy graduate to have made the step up recently, signing a long-term contract in September. The Wales Under-21 international is the son of former Forest striker David Johnson, and will hope to continue the family tradition of scoring goals in the Garibaldi.
Nottingham Forest Under-23s travel to Hillsborough Stadium on Friday as they take on Sheffield Wednesday Under-23s.